Questions of Iraq and soldier war mentality

Lyon Keating:

Awesome letter!!!  I’ve already used it in some of my subbing classes regarding the current conditions in Iraq.  Ivy League’s a good writer.  I think the most interesting part of the letter is the amazing picture that is placed in one’s head about the utter unstable environment that surrounds our war in the middle east.  However, the letter takes a turn now and again with the two paragraphs that I copied and pasted below.  For as insightful and observational Bering is, or really anyone that is in a leadership position in the military, about the downsides of this debacle I don’t understand how they can also say how proud they are of marines for their innocence and discipline to involve themselves in a situation that is shitty, no pun intended, and die fighting for a cause that is undefined and misleading.  I think an important question to ask Bering is why he seems so proud to lead his young, innocent Marines to a situation that will see them more likely to die when they haven’t experienced college, girls, life, and/or the ability, it seems like, to make rational decisions about getting out of bad situations. Does he really want us to meet his Marines so that we can feel honored that they have such grit and determination to be killed and led into battle by leaders and a govt that doesn’t have a defined goal?  Why are these people put in this situation?  Should we be proud of soldiers that follow orders even if they are bad orders?…

These are some of the questions and concerns I have regarding this letter or the whole situation that our soldiers are facing in the Middle East.  The letter contains an extremely detailed, rational account of the experiences involved in Iraq but it also is flooded with a patriotic zeal that glorifies war and sending young, innocent men into battle.  This celebrated war mentality is something that is just as dangerous as any act of terror.  The irony is hard to ignore…

 

Quote that was mentioned above:
“There a thousand stories like that in the Marine Corps and everyday my young Marines wake up, put on their boots and leave the “wire” to face someone trying to kill them.  It is not conversation for a world where we focus on the exploits of pop (which, admittedly, I am a sucker for).  It is not a conversation for keg parties or nights of martinis and crudo.  But some poor kid is doing it.  And he’s the proudest kid you’ve ever seen.  I wish you could meet my Marines.

I love the Marines.  I love them for their grit, for their discipline and I love them for their innocence.  The younger ones ask me questions about college.  I oblige their curiosity sometimes.  They ask me about girls.  I try to tell them.  They are dirty, smell bad, do stupid things and need constant supervision….but when I ask them to do their job, I have some of the oldest, most mature marines of the marine corps.  Last month the SEALs wanted to do an op.  They asked me for information.  I gave it.  They asked for support.  We offered.  They decided the mission had too many risks associated.  I balked.  Does my Corporal have a choice when I order him outside? “

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